The following paragraph appeared in a recent column from Der Spiegel:

Eine meiner Lieblingsgeschichten aus diesem Heft: Wie Erich Honecker den Kollegen Franz Josef Strauß über den Tisch gezogen hat, damals beim bundesdeutschen Kredit für die DDR. Strauß dachte, er habe als Gegenleistung einen Verzicht Honeckers auf die Selbstschussanlagen an der Grenze ausgehandelt. Pustekuchen.

How does Pustekuchen translate into English?

  • 3
    Related: german.stackexchange.com/questions/3654/…
    – tofro
    Jan 17, 2017 at 18:39
  • Maybe you know the TV series »Big Bang Theory«. It is broadcasted in a German synchronized version in German spoken countries and is very popular there. One of the main characters, Dr. Dr. Sheldon Lee Cooper invented the word »bazinga« to tag jokes that he makes (because he has problems to identify and to correctly use sarcasm). He invented this word in season 3, and when it was synchronized at the beginning, it was translated as »Pustekuchen« in the German version. (Later this word wasn't translated, so now you hear »bazinga« also in the German synchronization). Jan 18, 2017 at 14:36

1 Answer 1


There's a mistake in the text, the real expression is Pustekuchen. The meaning is the same as von wegen or denkste!: It expresses that someone didn't get what he wanted to, or wasn't right when he insisted on being right.

I don't think there's a good generic translation into English (but native speakers will know that better than I do), and you'll have to choose a similar expression according to context ("Not a bit!", "No way!", "You wish!" could all work in the right the situation, but are not really the same).

  • I'd say bollocks transports the meaning quite well.
    – tofro
    Jan 17, 2017 at 18:42
  • 6
    I don't think Bollocks is quite right. It's more like "no way, Jose", "in your dreams". "not happening", "think again".
    – Hilmar
    Jan 17, 2017 at 18:45
  • 1
    @tofro: Considering that bollocks is perceived as a serious profanity, placed between "prick" and "arsehole" in severity, I'd say that it's much too strong. "Pustekuchen" is comparatively mild.
    – dirkt
    Jan 17, 2017 at 19:06
  • 5
    Just adding a "Not." after the last sentence is probably one of the more common ways of expressing the sentiment.
    – Gerhard
    Jan 17, 2017 at 21:16
  • "Not a chance!" from pons.de sounds along the same lines.
    – Belzebu
    Jan 18, 2017 at 10:21

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.